Tough Times Ahead, Loyola Looks to Get Leaner, At Least For Now, Post-Covid19

From Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Chicago President Jo Ann Rooney announced salary cuts for herself and top university officials, and predicted the school may have to cut $50 million from next year’s budget.

In an email to the school community, Rooney said it remains to be seen how severely the coronavirus shutdown will affect the next school year. But she said the university is preparing for dramatic cuts.

“As you know, tuition is our primary source of revenue,” Rooney wrote. “We do not know yet to what degree we will be impacted, and several survey results of new and returning students force us to prepare for a number of scenarios, many of which, candidly, are quite grim … Our financial modeling, based on limited use of the residence halls and a blended delivery of classes (some in-person and some online) with enrollment across the board lower than in previous years, optimistically predicts that we may have to cut $50 million dollars from our budget.”

Rooney also outlined immediate pay cuts for top officials, including 15 percent for the president, 10 percent for the vice presidents, 5 percent for the deans, and between 2.5 and 3 percent for other senior administrators across the University.

Other cuts include:

  • The elimination of nearly all open and funded staff positions across the University and a freeze on hiring for any staff positions that become vacant unless they are essential to sustain campus operations for the fall.
  • A slowing of any new faculty hires for the fall to be done at the discretion of the provost and deans.
  • The partial elimination of the provost’s funded faculty reserve funds and unfilled faculty lines across the University.
  • The elimination of 50 percent of the salary control pools across all divisions. These funds would typically be available for mid-year equity adjustments or for other salary increases.
  • At the suggestion of the provost and with the support of the deans, a 50 percent reduction in PhD admits over the next two years.
  • A reduction in discretionary spending across all areas of the University including but not limited to travel, purchasing, consulting services.
  • Temporary suspension of future salary increases for all Loyola employees beginning January 2021,

“The shared sacrifice of these actions means we will avoid a University-wide furlough or reduction-in-force initiative at this time,” Rooney wrote. “There will likely need to be some isolated staff furloughs within the next few weeks given the recent timelines for openings outlined by the governor and we must be prepared for the possibility of additional furloughs or layoffs if fall data continues to predict significant revenue shortfalls.

“We also are assessing all aspects of our campus operations in the weeks ahead and will need to make the adjustments necessary to support a fall class schedule that will be safe and feasible for any residential students, commuters, faculty, and staff.

“I am sharing this information not to alarm anyone but to explain some of the uncertainties we are facing for the upcoming academic year and our processes moving forward. We firmly believe that an incremental, thoughtful approach based on good available data and information is the most prudent and fair path forward in very uncertain times with unpredictable student enrollment and lingering impacts of the pandemic.”

Rooney also referenced the teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order.

“One of the core principles of Ignatian spirituality is that we balance ourselves between opposing values,” she said. “We often talk about a commitment to cura personalis, which is our desire to care for the whole individual. However, we balance that with cura apostolica, which is care for the institution and mission; something we do not talk about as often. There is a built-in, healthy tension between caring for both, but our Jesuit heritage helps us navigate this dynamic tension through discernment. Our difficult choices and decisions are made even more challenging by the lingering uncertainly of the nature of the ‘changed normal.’ Prayerful discernment is the only way we can do everything possible to care for both our people and our beloved University. Let us keep each other in prayer throughout this journey.”


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